(St. Louis, United States) Approximately 300 people gathered at St. Alphonsus “Rock” Church in St. Louis on 27 June for a Prayer Vigil, Standing for Racial Justice gathering, sponsored by the Peace & Justice Committee of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
“It was a great witness, and many people driving by honked their horns in support,” said Fr. Steve Benden, pastor. “Several excellent speakers focused on Black Lives Matter and White Privilege, leading up to the most dramatic part of the event – 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence – the time it took to murder George Floyd. It is amazing how long that time period is when you’re thinking about George Floyd dying.”
Families stand wearing masks and carrying signs to support racial justice; Fr. Steve Benden joins supporters on the sidewalk. On the other hand, the religious nuns are out in force to support the event; and Fr. Rodney Olive (Baltimore Province), the associate pastor, stands in solidarity with those calling for justice in St. Louis. Fr. David Polek participating in the social justice event.
Fr. Steve believes that systemic racism must be eradicated and that these kinds of events must continue because we need constant reminders to be kind and loving. “I can call for an end to racism, but I choose to call for love of neighbor in every situation, regardless of skin color. I call for love even within our own families, parishes, states, and country. Each person must make that change in their own heart first; otherwise, nothing will change.”
(denverlink UPDATE 7/3/20)